Somerville High loses first game of 2008
A 3-0 start, something the Somerville football team has yet to achieve this century, will have to wait. Somerville committed too many costly penalties in an 18-6 defeat at the hands of Malden Catholic Friday.
A day of rain left the artificial turf soaked by game time, but as senior linebacker Kervin Edouard said, ‚ÄúYou play in the rain, you play in the snow, you play in any weather; you just have to play football.‚Äù
With former Somerville standout and current NFL rookie Gosder Cherilus watching from the sidelines (his team, the Detroit Lions, was on a bye week), the Somerville offense struggled in the first half. The team posted three short drives, never getting farther than 10 yards into Malden Catholic territory.
However, Malden Catholic had no trouble on the wet turf, driving for a field goal on its first possession and 89 yards on its second. Somerville defensive back Brandon O‚ÄôReagan made sure those 89 yards wouldn‚Äôt mean much though; he intercepted a pass in the Somerville end zone with 17 seconds left in the first half.
Malden Catholic wasted no time making up for its lost opportunity. On the first play of the second half, Lancer quarterback Andrew Desimone ran 69 yards for the game‚Äôs first touchdown, making it 10-0.
Not to be outdone, Highlander running back Seamus Desmond answered back on the next possession, carrying the ball 70 yards on the first play and his first carry of the game. A 15-yard personal foul pushed his gain back to the Malden Catholic 45 yard line, but three plays later Edouard took a direct snap 43 yards for Somerville‚Äôs first score, cutting the Lancer lead to four.
As the steady downpour stopped at halftime, the offense began to pour it on; the first two and a half minutes of the second half featured 159 yards of total offense and 13 points.
Somerville could not capitalize on the turnover, as another 15-yard personal foul left them to convert on a third-and-23 situation. The offense was forced to punt after quarterback Mike Stanton couldn‚Äôt get a pass off on third down.
Malden Catholic then began the fourth quarter with good field position in Somerville territory. After respective 11 and 13-yard scrambles by quarterback Andrew Desimone and another Somerville penalty, Malden Catholic running back Alex Weiner needed only 12 yards to punch it in for the score.
The Highlanders then took the ball, desperate for a successful drive, with nine minutes remaining in the game. After losing nine yards on its first two plays, the offense needed to convert on third and 19. Stanton went to the air, targeting backup quarterback Jason Messina. Messina leapt into the air to make the catch and then dove past the first-down marker for a 20-yard gain.
However, as was the story all night, a penalty at the wrong time cost Somerville. Officials called an ineligible receiver downfield and negated the play. Somerville was forced to punt.
The Lancers preserved their lead with a successful running attack, draining the clock for over five minutes. The Somerville defense finally made a stop at their own 13-yard line, sending the offense back onto the field needing two scores in less than three minutes.
On the third play of the possession, senior running back David Vazquez-Guerra tried to break free from the Lancer defense by reversing direction on a run to the right. The poor field position forced him into the end zone though and he was brought down for a safety, bringing the score to 16-8.
Stanton completed his first two passes, but on third and two with 30 seconds to play, he threw a game-sealing interception.
Highlander head coach Harry Marchetti said, ‚ÄúWhen we did what we were supposed to do, we looked great‚Ä¶ But at times, we lost our composure and that was really disappointing.‚Äù
‚ÄúThe running was there, we just got to take away the penalties and play football,‚Äù Edouard said.
Somerville was penalized seven times to Malden Catholic‚Äôs two.
The Highlanders have three more non-league games before a string of four league match-ups that will decide their GBL fate.
Marchetti said he expects the team to be tested in the coming weeks. ‚ÄúThings could get darker before they get brighter.‚Äù
However, the difficult schedule is all part of his plan, he said. ‚ÄúI picked the hardest teams I could to start us out. When we get to week seven and start our GBL journey, [our players] are going to be seasoned.‚Äù
The Highlanders host Xaverian Brothers Friday [7 p.m., Dilboy Stadium]. Xaverian is 3-1 after beating Brockton 34-6 Sunday.